Dark Knight of the Scarecrow (1981)

Poor Larry Drake, how sad it must be to get type-casted as a retard. More known for his role as the mentally challenged office worker in L.A. Law, Drake first played a mentally handicapped person in the early 80’s made-for-television movie Dark Knight of the Scarecrow.

Bubba (Drake) gets accused of assaulting a small girl. Already the ire of psychotic postal deliveryman Otis Hazlerigg, Bubba quickly becomes the target of an angry mob of backwoods bigots who decide to take the law into their own hand. When they find Bubba hiding in a scarecrow costume in an empty field the good old boys shoot some sense into the slow-witted man. Moments after his death, word comes across the CB that Bubba didn’t hurt the little girl, in fact he saved her from a vicious dog attack.

A kangaroo court clears the angry mob of any wrong doing, but not before Bubba’s mom reminds them that justice has an eerie way of prevailing. A scarecrow identical to the one Bubba hid in reappears in the field and one by one the men who killed Bubba meet a grizzly demise. Hazelrigg redirects his terror towards Bubba and the little girl whomhe saved. But, even Hazelrigg cannot escape the Dark Knight of the Scarecrow.

Charles Durning, who plays Hazelrigg, turns in an amazingly crazed performance as the obsessive and slimy mail carrier. His execution of Bubba stands as one of the more cold-hearted scenes you’ll probably ever come across in a television film. Still, being a made-for-TV movie, Dark Knight of the Scarecrow suffers some rather laughable moments of ineptitude. However, an original story, with some nice shocks make it a mixed bag of good and bad that make it an enjoyable pleasure despite its dramatic faults.

On an interesting side note – Larry Drake got his start in film playing another character named Bubba in  H.G. Lewis’ This Stuff” Kill Ya. Though down at Basement Cinema he’ll be forever known as Dr. Giggles.


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